understood the organization’s culture
and context. Jerry’s boss agreed to
provide some support, but Jerry was
not able to identify others he thought
would be willing to help him in this
regard. Then it dawned on him: this
further confirmed that his social skills
were lacking. The good news for
Jerry was that as he practiced his
emotional competencies, his network
of support grew naturally.
As noted earlier, persistent work
demands and a fast-paced, results-
oriented business culture can easily
push a personal learning agenda out
of the picture. The challenge for
leaders is to re-create in their day-to-
day work lives the critical elements
of an off-site learning experience
that enables risk taking, encourage-
ment, and useful feedback. By doing
so leaders can establish a learning
support system—an essential ingre-
dient of staying focused on active
Most important, experiencing suc-
cess and receiving positive reinforce-
ment from others provides the best
incentive for sustaining personal
growth and for modeling and facili-
tating this process for others.
What steps can leaders take to
develop emotional competence? A
good starting point is to find out what
opportunities the organization offers,
such as off-site development pro-
grams, ongoing coaching, and peri-
odic feedback. Knowing what is
available enables leaders to seize
opportunities they may have previ-
ously overlooked.
Leaders also should become pur-
poseful about developing trusting
alliances with their bosses, peers, and
subordinates who can offer timely
encouragement and feedback. These
alliances often evolve into reciprocal
learning partnerships in which both
individuals give and receive encour-
agement and feedback.
Leaders may want to consider
whether the organization’s culture
encourages risk taking and learning.
If in the process of creating a per-
sonal learning infrastructure leaders
discover that it is difficult or awkward
to build such alliances at work, they
may have to broaden their pool of
learning partners to include outsiders.
Developing emotional competence
is inextricably tied to developing a
learning infrastructure. As leaders
create such an infrastructure, they
naturally increase their self-aware-
ness, find opportunities to practice
self-regulation and critical social
skills, and develop alliances that pro-
vide valid feedback and encourage-
ment. Periodic feedback and reassess-
ment enable leaders to determine
whether they are enhancing their
awareness of their own and others’
emotions and motivations, and the
extent to which they are improving in
the areas of self-management, empa-
thy, and targeted social skills.
As leaders continue to follow this
path, their learning agendas are
likely to change. Leaders may also
become models for others or take an
interest in how they can motivate
others to develop their own self-
awareness and other critical emo-
tional competencies. In their roles as
creators and stewards of organiza-
tional culture, leaders might ask how
they can create opportunities for
others to engage in personal learning
and development. Once leaders are
on the way to becoming emotionally
competent, they realize that this
question is too critical to leave
Coaching for Emotional Competence
Coaching is considered an essential
jump-start experience for develop-
ing emotional competence. But
what specific coaching practices
are used to facilitate leaders’ devel-
opment of emotional competence?
To answer this question, research
was conducted on four CCL pro-
grams—two of which involve class-
room-based instruction and two of
which involve one-on-one coaching
and assessment.
Information from twenty-five
major coaching engagements was
collected and analyzed, along with
the answers to end-of-program and
follow-up questions from classroom
programs during the past four years
and personal reflections from coach-
es and facilitators who were
engaged in helping leaders develop
emotional competencies.
Two of the programs emphasized
developing self-management and
social skills such as managing con-
flict, whereas the other two placed
more emphasis on deepening self-
awareness and the personal factors
that shape one’s ability to self-dis-
close and build trusting relationships.
All four of the programs used
assessment tools and feedback
processes to address the four
emotional competence clusters
self-awareness, social awareness,
self-management, and relationship
management. Participants were asked
to reflect on the meaning and implica-
tions of 360-degree feedback and to
establish personal development goals.
Although the core learning
technologies varied across the four
programs, each program created
positive learning conditions includ-
ing anonymity, trust, valid and
focused feedback, and a safe envi-
ronment that allowed participants to
be open and vulnerable.
Perhaps the most important find-
ing was that even though follow-up is
essential for changing behaviors at
work, it did not happen consistently.
The programs served as catalysts for
self-awareness and motivation to
change, but planned follow-up—includ-
ing monitoring of personal goals,
ongoing coaching, encouragement,
and feedback—did not occur on a reg-
ular basis, squandering the learning
potential of everyday opportunities.

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